Wanted: Smart, Passionate People Who Want To Make A Difference

“How can I get involved?

I’ve had dozens of people ask me just that during and after the campaign.

Here is one way: Join a board or commission.

The city has more than a dozen of these groups providing oversight and guidance to various city departments and functions, and we’re always looking for new people to provide their expertise in a variety of areas.

So if you have a background or interest in libraries, health, law enforcement, public safety or a number of other areas, please consider getting involved.

For the first time, we’re actively promoting this process, and we’ve added some information on the city website, as well as a short application. Please consider filling one out, so we can get it on file.

My goal in pushing for this: Open up the process. While technically anyone can join a board or commission, too often we are picking members from a narrow group of people who are known to the mayor and other city leaders. I want to change that. I know there are plenty of South Milwaukeeans who I don’t know who have skills, knowledge and passion that could benefit this city and how we deliver our services.

I want to meet some of these people, injecting fresh ideas and perspectives into our boards and commissions.

Get involved!

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Do Your Part: Help Clean Up South Milwaukee On April 26

Update: The South Milwaukee PAC is offering tickets to cleanup volunteers. Learn more on my Facebook page.

Here is another way to get involved: Clean up your city!

Join us for the annual Earth Day cleanup from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 26, at these four sites around town …

  • First District: Oak Creek Parkway/North Chicago
  • Second District: South Milwaukee Fire Department
  • Third District: City Hall
  • Fourth District: 16th and Rawson (Oak Creek Parkway)

A fifth site is also available, as the Friends of Grant Park and Friends of the Mill Pond are meeting volunteers at 8 a.m. at the Grant Park beach house.

We’ll also be handing out bags at the South Milwaukee Indoor Market on April 26 at the high school.

All you need to do is show up, sign in, get your garbage bags (and other freebies) and get to cleaning up Oak Creek and other public areas. A hot dog lunch is planned for noon at the Senior Center.

And don’t forget that the South Milwaukee Police Department is taking medicines on April 26.

Please find a few minutes and get your family, friends and neighborhood together to keep South Milwaukee clean. As mayor, I really want drive more participation in these events.

Do you part!

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Check out these South Shore headlines …

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Staying In Touch As Mayor

I officially become South Milwaukee’s next mayor on Tuesday, April 15, and I am excited to begin bringing my campaign platform to life.

A key plank: enhancing communication. One way I plan to do it — be more accessible to the residents of South Milwaukee.

Along those lines, I am introducing an initiative called “Meet the Mayor.”

Starting next month — and once a month on Saturdays going forward — I’ll bring City Hall to a local business by meeting and greeting local residents through “Meet the Mayor” events. Anything is fair game to discuss.

The first session is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, at Azteca Restaurant, 901 Milwaukee Ave.

I can’t think of a better business to start with. Carlos and Rosie have done great things with their restaurant, and I encourage folks to stop by and see the improvements they’ve made … and try the authentic food.

Look for a more detailed schedule soon. I — and our local business owners — hope to see you.

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Rocket Sports Update

From the South Milwaukee School District … apologies on the dates. “Last night” means Wednesday.


The Varsity Fastpitch had a thrilling come-from-behind victory last night over Greenfield to push their Woodland Conference mark to 2-0 on the young season. This game had everything from key strikeouts by standout pitcher Abby Mahsem (11) to timely hits by freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors alike…a total team contribution.

With the new WIAA rule in place requiring an outfield fence, the Rockets saw their first 2 home runs of the season with an early 2-run HR by Maygen Marcell (10). After trailing 5-2 late in the game, a 2-run HR by Alyssa Sadowski (11) (scoring Maddie Veres (9)) capping a 4 -run inning to put the Rockets up 6-5. Despite not getting a ball out of the infield in the top of the 7th inning, Greenfield was able to tie the game and send the game to extra innings.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Rockets loaded the bases with Alyssa Sadowski starting it off with a walk. Dani Schwanke (12) hit a solid double to the right field fence pushing Alyssa to third. Melaney Wewers (12) had an infield single to load the bases, setting the stage for Isabelle Parello (9) to line a single through to left field to drive Sadowski home for the winning run. It really was one of the more exciting regular season games I’ve seen in a long time! Nice job Rockets!

The Rockets travel to Wauwatosa West HS (JV at Whitman Middle School across the freeway) on Thursday and to Greendale on Friday to take on the Panthers at 4:30pm (Varsity at the HS & JV at the Community Center). Good luck Rockets!

DEANNA GILANE (Class of 2010)

Once again, this is not a duplicate…the roll continues for Miss Gilane!!! Here is the link to the article



Congratulations to the boys’ JV team for winning the Woodland Conference East Division Indoor Championship last night at Cudahy HS!


Congratulations to the girls’ JV team as well for completing the sweep by winning the Woodland Conference East Division Indoor Championship last night at Cudahy HS!


The Rockets defeated Ronald Reagan HS 7-0 to open up their season on Tuesday. Solid performance to start the season. Good luck on Friday as the Rockets take on Burlington and Milwaukee King as part of an Oak Creek Tennis Tournament. First match begins at 3:10pm at the SM Courts.

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Upcoming Library Events

Here is a peek at what’s happening at the South Milwaukee Public Library, including a unique approach to fine amnesty …

Hey kids!  Read away your library fines.  On  Tuesday, April 23, from 12:30 to 4:30  for every half hour you read in the library you will get $1 off on your fines.  No fines!  Get a book and sign up for a drawing.

  • Friends of the Library Book Sale, Saturday April 12 from 9:30-3.  Great bargains
  • Join us in celebrating National Week April 13-19th.    On Tuesday, April 15 we are having family fun night and ice cream social from 6 to 7:45 pm  W have a magician, crafts for the kids and ice cream for adults and kids alike.
  • The South Milwaukee Public Library Foundation, Inc. is sponsoring a community shredding on Saturday, April 19th from 8 am until noon.  $5  for up to 7 boxes or bags.  Time to get rid  of those important papers safely.  The shredding will take place in the library parking lot.
  • On Thursday, April 24th kids are invited to participate in a library scavenger hunt in the youth room from 1 – 3 pm..  Open to school age children.
  • The Library Foundation is having a  dinner on Saturday May 10 at the Knights of Columbus Hall commentating the Library’s 115th anniversary.  We are the third oldest library in Milwaukee County.  Tickets are $30 per person.  Proceeds from the dinner are used to enhance library services.  The Foundation is funding the upgrade of the library’s wireless system.  We are also looking to raise funds  for a sign to advertise library  events.  The Foundation funds the children’s summer reading program and other programs sponsored by the library.  Reservations  may be made by calling 768-8195 or to purchase tickets they are available at the library circulation desk.

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Caring For Our Urban Forest

Several months ago, during a presentation on a potential plan to combat emerald ash borer and work towards a new urban forestry approach, the consultant hired by the city uttered a phrase I’ll never forget.

She called South Milwaukee “the Wild West of urban forestry.” And, as you can guess, it wasn’t a compliment.

Well, we’re taking steps to shed that image – starting with $300,000 in tree removal funding and a new public tree ordinance that defines roles, responsibilities and a plan for care of trees in the public right of way.

The South Milwaukee City Council gave initial approval to the ordinance change at its meeting Tuesday night. Further discussion will be had at the committee and council levels before final passage.

The biggest fundamental change proposed: The city would assume control of “public trees,” including removing dead or dying trees and pruning other trees in the right of way.

The top priority is removing dead or dying trees — of all varieties, ash or not. That’s where the $300,000 comes in.  The money – part of a larger city bond issue for a wide variety of infrastructure projects the council gave final approval to on Tuesday — will be used to take down hundreds of public trees in poor shape across the city, including many suspected of suffering from EAB.

Those trees were identified as part of the recently completed tree survey, which you can see summarized here.

In the next eight to 10 years, you can expect to see all white, green and black ash trees in the city removed.

The three ordinance takes this a step further and starts us toward a necessary long-term strategy. Among the guiding principles behind this ordinance …

  • In the proposed ordinance, public trees are defined as those within the city right of way or on city-owned land (or in medians). For those with sidewalks, public trees are those between a sidewalk and curb. For those without, it’s a bit more complicated, where trees between the curb and property line planed as part of a development plan or city planting plan would be considered public. There will also be an appeal process where the city can deem trees as public if they sit in the right of way, are consistently spaced and within four feet of the curb and gutter.
  • As for maintenance, the city, in the proposed ordinance, is committing to “a systematic program to remove high-risk public trees,” as well as prune them. Trees will be removed or pruned based on condition, with the worst trees getting the highest priority. Some trees can be removed or pruned by city workers. Some will have to be contracted for removal or pruning, and that is where the $300,000 will come in. Either way, the city is agreeing to take responsibility for trees in its right of way vs. requiring homeowners to do it. This is significant.
  • The city would not fund treatment for trees infected with EAB, according to the proposed ordinance.
  • When it comes to replanting, the city would also not commit to doing so, although I am pushing hard to ensure we at least replant trees in the downtown area, on boulevards or on public parcels in the short term, hopefully with more down the road.

So, this is a start, and a necessary one.

We must do this from an insurance liability perspective. It’s also the right thing to do, and what’s best for the city. Communities have a responsibility to care for their urban canopy and ensure it thrives long term. Our urban forest is part of who we are as South Milwaukee, and it takes a village to maintain and enhance it – not blindly delegating this to individual property owners.

That said, I hope this work is just a sapling as we enhance our focus on urban forestry. We still have some big questions to answer, especially around ensuring we have the city manpower we need to manage a successful forestry program for the long term and properly execute the removal, pruning and replanting of trees. I also want to see us make a stronger commitment to replanting, hopefully where there comes a day soon when the city replants a tree for each one it takes down. Funding will be a signifcant issue here.

My pledge as mayor: To overcommunicate this. I realize the first question for many people will be, “What does this mean for me? What about my tree?” We will do our best to answer that question, sharing information through a variety of means (newsletter, websites, public meeting, etc.) and give opportunities for feedback. This starts with the next couple of weeks, before we pass the final ordinance. My door is always open too.

So stay tuned. Lines of communication will remain open as we evolve our work on urban forestry. For now, this is a good start, progress toward shedding our “Wild West” image.

Check out the consultant’s EAB report for more background detail. 


Filed under City Council, City Services, Emerald Ash Borer, South Milwaukee